One Reflection of America

Posted on Mon 12/22/2008 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.” –Thomas Paine

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

One reflection of America

By Mark Alexander

Back in 1992, a seasoned New York Times political satirist said he was concerned that if Bill Clinton got elected, humorists wouldn’t have much to work with — until, that is, Clinton was asked about drug use and replied, “I experimented with marijuana [but] I didn’t inhale.”

Satirists are again expressing similar concerns about Barack Obama, who radiates Clinton’s penchant for smugness, but unlike Clinton, frequently seems somber if not depressed.

teflondon Teflon Don

Obama and Clinton have similar histories of shattered childhoods, of tragedy piled on misfortune, but Barack had the forethought to pre-empt some questions about his life by framing it in a couple of biographies. For example, the issue of his drug abuse: in “Dreams From My Father,” an early biographical sketch of his broken family, he described himself as a “Junkie. Pothead. …  That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man. … I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind. … We were always playing on the white man’s court.”

More specifically, he wrote, “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though.”

So, are we to gather that Obama, truly a victim of circumstances for which he deserves our compassion, inhaled, but exercised enough self-restraint to refrain from smack (heroin)?

I know plenty of folks of all colors and stripes that were subject to appalling abuse as children, but who, by the grace of God, rose above those circumstances. But Barack Obama is still mired in the chaos of his youth.

The tragedy of Obama’s childhood and adolescence now characterize his foray into adulthood. He would lead us to believe that his anomalous years concluded with his graduation from Harvard and move to Chicago, where, with a little help from his friends, his star has risen faster than any political neophyte in history.

However, as was the case with Clinton, pathological narcissism is the engine propelling Obama’s success, including his willingness to associate with very unsavory characters in order to ensure his advance. Obama’s compulsion to succeed may induce him to fake right while running left; but to underestimate the influence of those who have mentored him, those who “brung him to the dance,” is imprudent, to put it mildly.

A few years ago when visiting Kenya, home of the birth father who abandoned him at age two, Obama spoke of corruption and how it undermines the integrity of government: “My own city of Chicago has been the home of some of the most corrupt politics in American history. Corruption is a problem we all share.”

Now, after having soaked in Chicago’s political cesspool for almost two decades, Obama has emerged looking like a rose, if not so much smelling like one. But, like he says, you can put lipstick on a pig…

Given Obama’s recent endeavor to distance himself from one of his political benefactors, the current kingpin of Chicago corruption, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, I’m certain that he and his ilk will provide plenty of fodder for critics and satirists alike. Whether any of his adoring media toadies would dare to use such material against The One is another issue altogether. Perhaps that chore will be left to an earnest prosecutor.

As I wrote recently in “Team Obamavich”, surely Barack possesses enough political savvy to have insulated his involvement in Blagojevich’s racket with cutouts, disposable emissaries who can take one for the team if necessary — possibly even someone as close to Obama as, say, Rahm Emanuel.

However, could not the president-elect express just a bit of outrage about the explicit and startling corruption charges against his audacious old buddy, Blago, who spent the last month panhandling for big favors in return for the appointment of Obama’s Senate successor?

On the subject of favors, in a September interview, talkinghead Katie Couric tossed Obama one of many softballs: “What is your favorite movie of all time?”

His answer may provide some insight into his own psyche and current “Chicago problem”: “The Godfather,” said Obama, adding that his favorite scene “has to be, the opening where the caretaker comes in and, you know, Marlon Brando is sitting there and he’s saying ‘you disrespected me.’ You know, ‘and now you want a favor.’ It sets the tone for the whole movie. I mean there’s this combination of old world gentility and ritual, with this savagery underneath. It’s all about family, so it’s a great movie.”

Ah yes, it’s all about “family, and the savagery underneath.”

Is it possible that the president-elect has been battered and fried in corruption for so long that he doesn’t have the moral authority or fortitude to condemn Blagojevich? Or is it that Obama has enough residual virtue left to sense that denouncing Blago would constitute an act of hypocrisy greater than even he could stomach?

During his tenure in office, none of Clinton’s corrupt past stuck — not Whitewater, not Travelgate, not Filegate, not what his staff called “Bimbo Eruptions” like credible rape charges and the abuse of a young White House intern. Slick Willie, indeed — the Teflon pres — as the producer of that product notes, “it is best known for its slipperiness, which is useful where non-stick features are important … making cleanup a breeze.”

However, given Barack Obama’s ability rinse clean from a life of antisocial behavior, his association with miscreants, his close affiliation with corrupt politicos, etc., he has discovered something better than Teflon.

The fact is Obama’s political rise is not the result of slick deception and evasion. His ascent to power can be attributed to something much more subtle and, potentially, sinister, with far more ominous implications for the liberty embodied in that august old document, our Constitution.

Some 67 million Americans identify with Obama. They see some part of themselves reflected in his brokenness, his dysfunctional childhood, his victimization, and his search for salvation and his father, in the authority of the state.

The implications of this distorted and perverted mass identity are grave.

History is littered with examples of tragic eras when economic and political upheaval led weaker men to anoint a savior from among their ranks. The tyranny and suffering that inevitably followed cost them, and succeeding generations, far more than their original misfortunes.

We began this week by commemorating the 217th anniversary of the adoption of our Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to our Constitution, as ratified in 1791. Let us pray, then, and let us assume whatever additional burdens are necessary to ensure that we can still recognize those precious rights on their 218th anniversary and beyond.

Quote of the week

“For the more historically minded, it’s a time for nostalgia. The past comes alive as Chicago’s grand tradition of corruption is sustained for another generation. As the Chicago Tribune once wrote, ‘corruption has been as much a part of the landscape as corn, soybeans and skyscrapers.’ According to the Chicago Sun-Times, as of 2006, when Blago’s predecessor, George Ryan, was sent to prison for racketeering, 79 elected officials had been convicted of corruption in the past 30 years. … The New York Times — which, according to Wall Street analysts, is weeks from holding editorial board meetings in a refrigerator box — created the journalistic equivalent of CSI-Wasilla to study every follicle and fiber in Sarah Palin’s background, all the while treating Obama’s Chicago like one of those fairy-tale lands depicted in posters that adorn little girls’ bedroom walls. See there, Suzie? That’s a Pegasus. That’s a pink unicorn. And that’s a beautiful sunflower giving birth to a fully grown Barack Obama, the greatest president ever and the only man in history to be able to pick up manure from the clean end.” –National Review editor Jonah Goldberg

Open query

“In the final analysis, we, the people, are responsible for the corruption of our leaders by failing to demand a higher standard of conduct from our politicians. Increasingly, Americans have grown accustomed to a culture characterized by moral relativism and individualism. We have mocked Judeo-Christian values — humility, virtue, honor — and in the process, eroded restraints on social conduct. The results have become painfully obvious in the business arena and are becoming increasingly obvious in the political arena. When we do not demand honor, virtue, and accountability from ourselves, can we really expect more from our leaders? Have we merely gotten the leaders we deserve?” –Ken Connor, Chairman of the Center for a Just Society

Final call

As of this morning, we have raised almost 85 percent of our 2008 Annual Fund budget.

There are only 12 days until year-end left in this critical campaign, and we still must raise $116,685 in order to meet our budget.

85

Our mission and operations budget is a small fraction of other influential conservative organization budgets. We are able to do this in large part because our dedicated staff members are motivated by mission, not the modest wages they receive.

If you have not already done so, please take a moment to support The Patriot’s 2008 Annual Fund today by making a contribution — however large or small. (If you prefer to support us by mail, please use our printable donor form.)

I thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as editor and publisher of The Patriot. On behalf of your Patriot Staff and National Advisory Committee, thank you and God bless you and your family.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!
Mark Alexander
Publisher

(Note: The Patriot is not sustained by any political, special interest or parent organization, nor do we accept any third-party online or e-mail advertising. Our mission and operations budgets are funded by — and depend entirely upon — the voluntary financial support of American Patriots like YOU!)

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

From the Left: Blagojevich saga continues

The Illinois state legislature officially launched an impeachment inquiry into the shenanigans of Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich this week. Several weeks of hearings into Blagojevich’s pay-to-play schemes and other questionable acts are set to take place, perhaps leading to a full scale impeachment trial that may remove him from office. It is not, however, an open-and-shut case, which may explain why Blagojevich has no intention of stepping down quietly from his post. In fact, he has been reporting for duty as if nothing has changed, even signing into law a bill involving the same casino and horse-racing industries that he allegedly used to squeeze campaign contributions in exchange for his signature.

It turns out that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was not able to catch the sale of Obama’s Senate seat on tape, which would have greatly solidified his case. He was rushed into arresting Blagojevich because the Chicago Tribune was no longer interested in holding onto the story without publishing it. Great moments in American journalism, indeed.

Whether Blagojevich walks or pays the price for his corruption remains to be seen, but right now, all eyes are on Obama’s Senate seat. Illinois Democrats want Blagojevich out the door, but they are not interested in stripping him of his power to appoint Obama’s replacement. Still, Blagojevich’s lawyer says the governor will not make an appointment. Such a move would likely lead to a special election for the Senate seat that a Republican could win if the voters make Chicago’s crooked Democrat Party pay for playing. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has vowed that the nation’s senators will not welcome a Blagojevich appointment to Washington. But if that appointment came from Illinois’s Democrat Lt. Governor? Well, that’s a different story.

Meanwhile, Team Obama has officially cleared itself of any wrongdoing in the scandal by releasing the following statement: “At the direction of the president-elect, a review of transition staff contacts with Governor Blagojevich and his office has been conducted and completed and is ready for release. That review affirmed the public statements of the president-elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the president-elect’s staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of his successor as U.S. senator.” Let’s move on folks, nothing to see here.

Ponzi scheme benefits Democrats

Speaking of corruption, Bernard Madoff, founder of Manhattan-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, was arrested and charged with securities fraud this week in what may be history’s largest Ponzi scheme. Investors in Madoff’s hedge funds may have lost anywhere from $17 billion to $50 billion. Investment details aside, Madoff was a major player in Washington politics — for the Democrats. Since 1993, the Madoff clan has donated more than $380,000 to individual politicians and political action committees, including $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In particular, DSCC head Sen. Chuck Schumer (the other senator from New York) received money from Madoff — $39,000 for his 1998 and 2004 races. One will search in vain for such details in Leftmedia stories about Madoff, however. Apparently, it isn’t worth a mention.

Hope ‘n’ Change: Obama’s education secretary

At first glance, Arne Duncan, Chicago’s top public school official, appeared to be a safe pick as Obama’s education secretary. Naturally, however, Duncan’s record doesn’t seem to merit his elevation. In America’s third-largest school district, Duncan did manage to improve graduation rates, but other statistics are disturbing, such as the fact that only 17 percent of eighth graders can read at grade level, and only 25 percent of all Chicago students scored above the national average in math. Duncan was also instrumental in the proposal of a homosexual high school in Chicago. Furthermore, Duncan is tied to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Bill Ayers’ brainchild for radicalizing, rather than educating, Chicago’s youth. Now Bill Ayers can influence all publicly educated American children. Finally, we find it curious that Obama thinks Duncan is worthy to be education secretary for his work in Chicago, even while the Obamas didn’t dare put their children into the public school system Duncan oversees.

In other Obama news, the president-elect has asked Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration on 20 January, a move that has created more anger on the Angry Left, if such a thing is possible. Obamaphiles are upset mainly because Warren led conservative support for California’s Proposition 8, which sought to re-ban same-sex marriage. Kevin Naff, editor of the homosexual rag the Washington Blade, called the choice a “slap in the faces” of homosexual voters. “We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise.” On the other hand, we’re not convinced Obama has truly seen the light.

Clinton reveals donors

Bill Clinton released the list of 205,000 donors to the Clinton Foundation Thursday as part of the deal with Barack Obama for Hillary Clinton’s spot in the cabinet as secretary of state. The donors include members of the Saudi royal family and other Middle Eastern leaders, and total foreign donations total more than $140 million. Though Clinton released donation amounts only in ranges and not exact amounts, we now know that Saudi Arabia gave at least $10 million and the ruling Zayed family of the United Arab Emirates donated between $1 million and $5 million. The governments of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait gave more than $1 million each, as did those of Australia, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Brunei and Taiwan. To put it mildly, considering U.S. interests around the world and in the Middle East in particular, these donations create an interesting dilemma for Hillary. The Clintons’ practices, which show how small time Gov. Blagojevich really was, should also provide some fodder for Republican senators interested in challenging her nomination.

News from the Swamp: Federal deficit skyrockets

Federal spending grew 25 percent in 2008 according to a joint White House-Treasury Department report released this week. Taxpayers will end up more than $1 trillion in the hole thanks to this steep rise, which is accounted for mostly by significant growth in veterans’ benefits and tax revenues that have remained static due to a yearlong recession. The scary part is that this trillion-dollar red mark comes before Uncle Sam’s bailout escapades are taken into account. President-elect Obama’s plan for another stimulus package early next year will only increase the federal deficit, which went from $162.8 billion in fiscal 2008 to $454.8 billion just one year later. But never fear, members of Congress are set to receive a pay raise of $4,700 a year beginning in January.

This “damn-the-torpedoes” strategy of not worrying about the deficit during times of economic strain will one day sink the American economy. This year, the federal government will spend $450 billion on just the interest on the national debt. That interest payment ranks fourth in total government outlays, behind Medicare-Medicaid, Social Security and defense. In 30 years, the government’s current tax revenue will cover only half of what it owes. We’re soon going to be looking for change, all right.

GOP House cleaning

After their devastating defeat in the November elections, Republicans are cleaning House in an attempt to reinvent the party and regain voter confidence. For starters, they have followed the scent of pork to the state of Alaska, where Rep. Don Young is the latest casualty in a purge that took down former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski in 2006 and, more recently, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. But unlike Murkowski, who was given the heave-ho by voters in favor of Sarah Palin, and Stevens, who was found guilty of accepting improper gifts, Young is being booted by Republican leadership in an effort to avoid another full-blown scandal.

Already associated with the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” Young is now rumored to be under criminal investigation for allegedly earmarking funds for a Florida freeway interchange (yes, 5,000 miles from home) that would have enriched a friend. At the time, Young was serving as chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Young’s descent began with his recent removal from the Republican Steering Committee, and his effective exclusion thereafter from party decision-making in Alaska, from having a role in setting the GOP agenda; it continued last week, when House Republican leader John Boehner informed Young that he will no longer be the Republican top dog of the Natural Resources Committee. Young has held a seat on the committee for many years, and served as its chair in the 1990s.

Still, Young will retain his office, his seniority, and his committee memberships, including the Natural Resources Committee. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and has expressed his confidence that he will be vindicated and will regain his post.

Palin’s Alaska church burned

“Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s home church was badly damaged by arson, leading the governor to apologize Saturday if the fire was connected to ‘undeserved negative attention’ from her campaign as the Republican vice presidential nominee,” The Washington Post reports. “Damage to the Wasilla Bible Church was estimated at $1 million, authorities said.” An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discovered that an accelerant had been poured around the exterior of the church. The fire was set at the main entrance while a small group, including two children, was inside, though no one was hurt. Members of the church had an optimistic outlook after what can only be described in today’s parlance as a hate crime. “Whatever the motives of the arsonist, the governor has faith in the scriptural passage that what was intended for evil will in some way be used for good,” said Palin’s spokesman Bill McAllister.

Paul Weyrich, 1942-2008

Conservative activist and commentator Paul Weyrich died this week. He was 66. Weyrich was the co-founder and first president of the Heritage Foundation, and he coined the term “moral majority.” He also was a colleague and fellow member of the Council for National Policy with our publisher, Mark Alexander. At the time of his death, Weyrich was serving as chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank. Lee Edwards, a friend and Heritage Foundation scholar, said, “He was a dedicated conservative and patriot, an excellent strategist.” Indeed, in his last commentary, posted with Thursday’s date, Weyrich wrote of conservatism’s “serious agenda for the future.” Always thinking forward…

NATIONAL SECURITY

Department of Military Readiness: Our aging nuclear stockpile

Much ink (or bandwidth, as the case may be) already has been expended in speculation about Barack Obama’s domestic agenda; much less has been expended on his national security priorities (except for Iraq). However, there is one issue on which the incoming Obama administration has the potential to alter the United States’ national security fundamentally, and on which little has so far been written: his policy on the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. While it may be dismissed as campaign rhetoric, Obama’s stated position is that the elimination of all nuclear weapons will be “a central element in our nuclear policy.”

There may have been no more passionately held goal, nor a more wrong-headed one, than the Left’s attempts starting nearly 40 years ago for unilateral disarmament of nuclear weapons. While the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations did much to stave off the lefties of their day, today the U.S. nuclear stockpile is in a truly dangerous state. Our last nuclear test was conducted in 1992, and many of our weapons date from the 1960s.

Existing U.S. nukes are becoming less reliable by the year due to the lack of testing, and the refusal of the Democrat-controlled Congress to approve the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program effectively prevents the United States from restocking its nuclear arsenal. The end result may be an arsenal that has reached the point that it cannot be considered reliable, and has no new replacement warheads — in other words, nuclear disarmament by default.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates clearly understands this problem: “Currently, the United States is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead. To be blunt, there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program.” The unfortunate thing is, we don’t think Gates’ future boss has the same outlook.

Russians visit Cuba

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! The Russians are… Zzzz. Fortunately for the world, Russia on the move isn’t what it used to be. For the first time since World War II, Russian warships have been taking a tropical cruise through Panama and visiting Venezuela, and are now on their way to visit the Communist paradise of Cuba. Although it appears that the Russians are trying to jerk America’s chain and reignite some Cold War passions, the Pentagon is taking a decidedly ho-hum approach to the whole thing. Admiral James Stavridis, head of the U.S. Southern Command, said there is no reason to be concerned about the Russian navy’s activity, deadpanning in an email to the media, “They pose no military threat to the U.S.”

For their part, the Russians, unhappy with several recent U.S. moves that include sending an American warship into the Black Sea in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Georgia, pushing to admit Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, and deploying missile defense systems in Poland, apparently think linking up with the likes of Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro will bring some of that old-time Soviet magic back. It doesn’t appear to have done so, and, given the state of Russian and Venezuelan finances in the wake of crumbling oil prices, it won’t in the near future, either. Maybe it’s just that December in the Caribbean is better than in Moscow.

Profiles of valor: U.S. Army 1st Lt. Neil Prakash

On 24 June 2004, 1st Lt. Neil Prakash of the United States Army had been on patrol from midnight until 7 a.m. He returned to Forward Operating Base Scunion only to be sent back out onto the Blue Babe Highway because of reports of 25 to 30 jihadis setting improvised explosive devices on the roadside. Three hours later, Prakash’s platoon headed to Boqouba to alleviate a siege with his tank in the lead. They received a report of small groups of insurgents prepared to fight on the way, and soon got confirmation of the warning. A rocket-propelled grenade fired from a nearby house hit his tank, followed by six more hits from as close as 30 meters, as well as multiple IED blasts. One hit took out the navigation, and another damaged the turret, making it impossible to rotate. Prakash maneuvered the entire vehicle to direct .50-caliber machine-gun fire at the enemy. After returning to FOB Scunion for more ammo and quick repairs, Prakash went back into action. His tank destroyed eight enemy positions, one resupply vehicle and multiple enemy fighters that day. “He was incredible,” said Spc. John Langford, Prakash’s loader in the battle. “He kept us in line and kept us calm. I couldn’t have chosen a better tank commander or platoon leader for what we experienced that day.” For his actions, Lt. Prakash received the Silver Star.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Auto bailout approved by Bush administration

President George W. Bush announced Friday morning that the White House will include General Motors and Chrysler in the Treasury Department’s fiscal bailout plan. The automakers will receive $13,4 billion in emergency loans now, plus another $4 billion in February contingent on the companies undertaking reorganization dictated by the federal government. Among the conditions is Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s proposal that the automakers negotiate wage and benefit cuts with the United Auto Workers to better align them with competition from foreign companies making autos here in the United States, but that requirement is non-binding. GM and Chrysler must also limit executive pay and eliminate their corporate jets. On 30 March, GM and Chrysler will be made to give account of their condition.

“These are not ordinary circumstances, in the midst of a financial crisis and a recession allowing the US auto industry to collapse is not a responsible action,” the president said, adding, “Chapter 11 is unlikely to work for the American automakers at this time.” Fair-weather capitalism is also unlikely to work at any time.

The Fed cuts interest rates again

The Federal Reserve cut its target interest rate Tuesday to historic lows between zero and a quarter percentage point and said it could expand a program of unorthodox lending and securities purchases,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The discount rate of half a percentage point is the lowest since the 1940s, and the rate on three-month Treasury bills is near zero, the lowest since the 1930s. The Fed was expected to cut rates again, but these cuts were more than anticipated. In the last 16 months, the Fed has cut rates by more than five percentage points. Unfortunately, the longer-term effect of such rate cutting is that when recovery comes (and it will come) high inflation is likely. Think Jimmy Carter, 1979, malaise.

“We are running out of the traditional ammunition that’s used in a recession, which is to lower interest rates. They’re getting to be about as low as they can go,” said Captain Obvious, er, President-elect Obama. Determined to carry on the Carter mantel, Obama released plans for a “stimulus” package of up to $850 billion, to include new roads, green energy projects and other government schemes.

Meanwhile, the Fed is, as The Journal put it, “taking away with one hand what it gives with the other” by imposing “what amount to federal price controls on credit cards.” The result of such controls will be tightening of consumer credit at a time when the object is ostensibly to keep credit markets liquid. Credit card companies will also likely raise rates for everyone and cut benefits for reward cards.

Income Redistribution: New York’s tax proposal

New York’s Gov. David Paterson has proposed a tax package that adds $4 billion to the state’s already overburdened taxpayers. We suppose they get what they vote for. Paterson’s aim is to close a budget deficit of $15 billion, and liberals naturally gravitate toward tax hikes rather than spending cuts. Funny how taxpayers don’t get to apply the same principles to their own budgets…

Paterson’s tax plan calls for 88 new fees and taxes, including a clothing tax, radio tax, cable TV tax, movie theater tax, sporting event tax, taxi tax, bus tax, limo tax, iPod tax, beer tax, cigar tax, massage tax, and even an 18-percent tax hike on soda and other sugary drinks containing less than 70 percent real fruit juice. Fees at state parks and the Department of Motor Vehicles also will be raised. The only tax that didn’t see an increase, it seems, was the income tax. “We’re going to have to take some extreme measures,” Paterson said of the plan. “This is where we are,” Paterson added. “Maybe we should have thought about this when we were depending on what we thought was inexhaustive collections of taxes from Wall Street — and now those taxes have fallen off a cliff.” Our nation’s Founders fought a war over excessive taxes, declaring “no taxation without representation.” Well, taxation with representation ain’t so hot, either.

Corporate America moving to greener pastures

Foreshadowing the mobility of capital, American corporations are fleeing the country in response to the hostility of the increased incoming Democrat majorities in Congress. Since Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, liberal lawmakers, bent on forcing companies to conform to their notions of “patriotic” corporate behavior, have treated the country to a series of corporate inquisitions over business practices. The U.S. is also saddled with the second highest taxation rate in the world.

The results have been a spectacular display of congressional economic illiteracy punctuated by an epic economic meltdown originally triggered by malfeasance in Congress’ oversight of the home mortgage industry. Coupled with promises of further investigations, more burdensome regulations, and even higher taxes, it is little wonder that domestic corporations are moving overseas to escape an increasingly harsh American business climate. As expressed by the oil company Weatherford International in choosing to move to the more favorable business environment of Switzerland, the U.S. is merely one market making itself too difficult in which to conduct business. Consequently, the high-paying jobs associated with their corporate headquarters will also be shifted away from America. Foreign capital will likewise be sure to flow to better business environments than the one being created by Congress.

Speaking of oil, OPEC ministers anticipate they will again cut production by the unprecedented amount of 2.2 million barrels a day to combat falling oil prices following the first reduction in demand in decades. Oddly enough, after OPEC’s announcement, oil dropped below $40 a barrel for the first time since 2004.

CULTURE & POLICY

Village Academic Curriculum: Georgia segregation continues

And we thought that the election of Barack Obama would end racial politics. We learned otherwise in Georgia, however, as a state senator’s trial balloon of merging primarily white colleges with primarily black ones in two Georgia cities met with fierce resistance from alumni and educators at the larger black schools. Under the suggestion from the Chair of the State Senate Higher Education Committee, Seth Harp, Armstrong Atlantic State University would merge with Savannah State University and Darton College would be combined with Albany State University. Harp’s reasoning was pure economics — merging the schools would help Georgia close the gap on its $2 billion budget deficit. And yet opponents called this effort at desegregation “racism.” Who knew? While the historically black institutions would maintain their names, those who study the role of these colleges fretted that educational opportunities would be decreased for minority students, pointing out that these schools have a graduation rate comparable to mainly white colleges despite taking in students considered less qualified. As Dwayne Ashley, president of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and merger opponent, noted, “Historically black institutions play a vital role in the community, the state and the nation. They provide educations to a number of young men and women who might not otherwise attend college.”

Harp countered that the cities involved weren’t necessarily large enough to support two colleges, and that, “[w]e really need to close the chapter of segregated schools and create a unified system.” While Senator Harp’s merger proposal is “not really on the radar screen” as a spokesman for the Georgia Board of Regents claims, apparently “separate but equal” still has some proponents in Georgia.

Climate change this week: World ends, but Obama can still save it

“Obama left with little time to curb global warming,” headlined the Associated Press in a propaganda piece about climate change. “We’re out of time,” Stanford University biologist Terry Root said in the piece. “Things are going extinct.” The article continued, “[Al] Gore called the situation ‘the equivalent of a five-alarm fire that has to be addressed immediately.'” And that’s the good news. “Scientists [who shall remain nameless] fear that what’s happening with Arctic ice melt will be amplified so that ominous sea level rise will occur sooner than they expected. They predict Arctic waters could be ice-free in summers, perhaps by 2013, decades earlier than they thought only a few years ago.”

AP op-ed contributor Seth Borenstein really hit a home run in his closing paragraph, saying that even though 2008 has been much cooler — note the snowfall in Las Vegas and Malibu this week — that really points to global warming. “The average global temperature in 2008 is likely to wind up slightly under 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, about a tenth of a degree cooler than last year. When Clinton was inaugurated, 57.9 easily would have been the warmest year on record. Now, that temperature would qualify as the ninth warmest year.” With all this disastrous information, we’re beginning to fear that the Onion’s recent satirical story on the “massive hurriphoonado” caused by global warming is bound to come true.

Hollywood blacklists are back

McCarthy rides again in Hollywood, but this time, commies are safe. Instead, anyone who supported California’s Proposition 8, which opposed same-sex marriage, is blacklisted. Consider, for example, that protestors forced California Musical Theater Artistic Director Scott Eckern to resign following his $1,000 donation to the “Yes on 8” campaign, and L.A. Film Festival Director Richard Raddon committed an apparently unpardonable sin when he gave $1,500 to the campaign, a move that resulted in many members of the festival’s board pressuring him into resignation.

Even L.A. cuisine must bow to the homosexual agenda. After Marjorie Christoffersen, the manager of the city’s famed El Coyote restaurant — who, incidentally, has been praised for her kindness to homosexual employees — gave $100 to “Yes on 8,” activists spent a month protesting and boycotting the restaurant, bullying Christoffersen into ending her 26-year tenure there. Never fear, though. El Coyote’s managers took a stand — on the side of the protestors, that is — giving $10,000 to homosexual activist groups to “make up” for Christoffersen’s $100 donation.

No word yet on any plans for a Hollywood documentary denouncing the blacklisting of Prop 8 supporters.

Christmas endures another year of bah, humbug

Each Christmas, the Scrooges of the world come out to fight the real meaning of the holiday. Naturally, this means lawsuits of one sort or another, this year including one by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, for a crèche displayed on government property.

Others, however, are more creative in their disdain. Washington’s Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire this year sanctioned the public display of a “winter solstice” sign at the state capitol sponsored by the atheistic Freedom from Religion Foundation. The sign declares that religion is “myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds” and concludes, “may reason prevail.”

Meanwhile, some sick souls simply vandalize nativity scenes. In Paw Paw, Michigan, police are searching for a stolen baby Jesus figurine. Authorities in Kingsport, Tennessee, are looking for vandals who decapitated one of the shepherds in a nativity display at Church Circle. And finally, two Josephs and two Marys populate a Netherlands nativity scene erected by a Dutch homosexual group as part of its “Pink Christmas” festival. Hardly surprising, as the manipulation of facts is part and parcel to their unholy crusade.

‘Tis the season for reason, indeed.

And last…

What’s in a name? In some cases, a lot of bad history. Such is the misfortune of one three-year-old boy in Holland Township, New Jersey, whose parents saddled him with the baggage of being named for the infamous Adolf Hitler. The least of the boy’s troubles is that a local supermarket refused to make a birthday cake with his name on it. Nor would the same supermarket make a cake for his sister, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, who will be two in February. Aside from the obvious psychological problems suffered by Adolf’s parents, an insightful Allentown psychologist suggested that the names would cause problems for the children later in life. This led The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto to quip, “Boy, you don’t say! What if the Campbell boy grows up and wants to be president one day? He’ll never get elected once people realize his middle name was also the name of a brutal dictator!”

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